The Bromance

This was the most unusual creature!

She says he wasn’t, but I’m sure he was bought primarily to keep me company. Almost 6 months after his arrival, he would best be described as my almost constant companion, and he brings me ongoing pleasure with his constant attention.

He didn’t have a name for a long time and was just referred to as kitten or the boy.

I suggested that we called him Ninja because he was and still is black and used to be very dangerous, and at the time, evidence of this was highly visible on the backs of everyone’s hands. My daughter liked the name until she came up with a replacement which was Diego. Also a great name. However, sometimes a name doesn’t seem to fit or feel right! Before the birth of my daughter, we had already chosen what we felt that sight unseen was the perfect name for her if she was a girl. We both liked the Greek name Katrina which to us sounded perfect. However, when she arrived, she didn’t look like Katrina, not at all. It sounded awkward and fitted her about as well as an outfit of clothing for a two-year-old.

I felt the same way now about the name Diego and that the name didn’t fit him, and perhaps this was because I have a fun sense of humour. Every time I called his name, I fell into using a very Spanish Antonio Banderas accent and referred to him as Diego Lopez or Sanchez. Having a Spanish cat was certainly more fun than his name, and everyone looks at me as if I were stupid.

As a tiny kitten, and because he was all black, it was difficult to tell where he started and finished, but he had HUGE charisma and personality right from the beginning. It also soon became obvious that although he had a huge appetite, he would be a long and slim cat with his tail standing erect before concluding in a small question mark. And the almost permanent smile of satisfaction he wore, he was a unique cat. He walked with a very distinct swagger that earned him the name I name, which suits him perfectly, slinky, which became my name for him although no one else uses it. It was certainly not approved of by my children, but he looks like a slinky, and so, with me, the name has stuck, and as soon as I call his name, and just like magic, he appears.

No more pets, please.

Although I had not wanted another cat because every other cat we ever had which totalled three, all had poor ends to their lives and died badly. This fact bothered me, but I had to remind myself that the past doesn’t equal the future, and I think this generally is the way it is for most cats. He was here to stay, and now we had slinky; I was going to give him the best life I could manage. I didn’t think this would be difficult because he was an amiable, fun-loving cat who constantly entertained the family while entertaining himself.

What were we thinking

For a while, we had considered getting a second kitten to keep him company. Still, anyone who has met or experienced slinky soon realises, although small, this kitten has a huge personality and energy. He makes it his responsibility to entertain every family member; no one is excluded, even my wife, who generally dislikes cats. However, for saying that, he spends most of his time with me. He may go and spend some time with my children, but he soon comes back to me and sits close. If I go to watch the TV, he sits in the chair next to me. If I go to the summer room, he does the same. If I sit in the garden on one of the decks reading or writing, he sits under my chair or sometimes, like today, he lies across the end of the table purring loudly in readiness to attack my pen. Unless he’s asleep, he constantly chats to me and communicates with the occasional meow, but usually strange entertaining feline sounds, which presumably means something to him. Definitely, one cat was enough!

While my children (both professional athletes) are away training and competing, usually out of the UK as they are right now. Slinky is my constant companion, and when I go to bed, he sleeps next to me, competing with my wife for space. When he was a kitten, I experienced covid nineteen, which seemed to go on for so long, and I’m certain he felt empathy with my condition. Every fifteen minutes or so, he would do something silly and entertaining to lift my spirits and enthusiasm.

Take that!

Head-butting is his favourite way of getting my attention and grooming my long white beard, and just for a variety, he licks or gently bites my ears which even in the depth of a covid nineteen brain fog would bring a smile to my face.

He doesn’t hold grudges!

I used to have a cat who refused to speak to me when I returned from working away. He would make his displeasure very obvious for days on end and sulking in the noisiest silence you could imagine. He left you in no uncertain terms that he felt dejected and wanted vengeance and me to suffer, but not this guy. Due to his nosy and inquisitive nature, he regularly unintentionally gets locked in other rooms. However, he only meows at you loudly when he is released, as if he is having a little tantrum. If he could speak English, I can almost imagine him saying, “where the hell were you,” or “what their heck took you so long?” His worst habit of all is walking directly in front of me or circling my legs while I get his food. Even worse is when I go downstairs, and he sits and waits on the step below me. Unfortunately, the pleasures of the covid nineteen virus left me unstable, and most of the time, I now walk with a stick or crutch, which means he has been kicked and stepped on many times already. Although he might let out a screech of pain, he never holds such accidents against me and comes up nodding and smiling for some kitten therapy and always purring loudly.

Avoiding the teeth!

The only big negative with this little black cat is that he still likes to bite, HARD! A lot of the problem, I think, is due to my children who allowed him to play far too rough. At one point, the whole family had so many bites and scratches on their hands that we resembled the self-harming inmates at the local mental facility. Eventually, I decided when he bit me too hard; I would put him down on the floor or even locking him out of the room completely. This was something he immediately understood and didn’t like at all; it also works. Until five minutes ago, he hasn’t bit me for weeks, but just occasionally, the urge becomes too much for him. Hey, in human years, he still a teenager!

Our relationship continues to grow stronger!

Another reason I didn’t want a second cat is me. I actually feel guilty if I need to go out and leave him alone in the house. God knows how I’ll feel when I leave him for six months in the winter to live in the Philippines? However, I presume as he doesn’t hold grudges, the moment I return, he’ll be all over me again, and the real relationship will resume, and we won’t fall out.

Two stone lighter

Being a Tom (male cat), he had to be castrated, or quite soon, he would start wandering in search of romance and Queens in heat. His procedure was scheduled for 9 am on the 5th of May, and I felt truly guilty; and as the deadline got closer, I felt as if he was an inmate on death row. At the same time, and in the same way, I’d have gladly taken the pain from my children if I only could. I considered having the operation on his behalf. It worried me to death, and I’m such a coward. So, I got my son to take him to the vet, but you can believe me when I say that he was at the forefront of my mind for the whole day. The vet called me to say he was ready to be collected, although my son did the honours. They also told me not to be surprised if he was subdued for a few days!

Was that a joke?

That night it was just me and my wife who was in the house, and although he was always entertaining, tonight we strongly suspected he had sniffed a few lines of cocaine when we weren’t looking because now he became unbelievably hyper. He raced around our home and garden with the speed of a Formula One racing car and the dexterity of the Millennium Falcon of Star-wars notoriety. Suddenly, he was ten times as active as them before his family jewels had been removed, and he has stayed that way ever since. “I think you should also be done,” said my wife, and I almost agreed with her.

The eunuch!

Five weeks after his castration, I can’t see any disadvantage to his health or enthusiasm and fitness levels. I have left it till now to say this, but with his caring nature and flamboyant sense of fun and adventure and the way he walks and presents himself. If he were human, I would guess he would be gay. Luckily, I am not the slightest bit homophobic, and although everything is always on his terms and he does exactly what he wants to do when he wants to do it. This little guy has become a huge part of my life, and I really care for him.

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